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Crabgrass Frontier  By  cover art

Crabgrass Frontier

By: Kenneth T. Jackson
Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
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Publisher's Summary

This first full-scale history of the development of the American suburb examines how "the good life" in America came to be equated with the a home of one's own surrounded by a grassy yard and located far from the urban workplace.

Integrating social history with economic and architectural analysis, and taking into account such factors as the availability of cheap land, inexpensive building methods, and rapid transportation, Kenneth Jackson chronicles the phenomenal growth of the American suburb from the middle of the 19th century to the present day. He treats communities in every section of the U.S. and compares American residential patterns with those of Japan and Europe. In conclusion, Jackson offers a controversial prediction: That the future of residential deconcentration will be very different from its past in both the U.S. and Europe.

©1985 Oxford University Press, Inc. (P)2014 Audible Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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fascinating history 📜

the first half of the book is the most boring history book about rich people's houses, but then in chapter 9 things start to pick up with the trolley invention, and then sh*t hits the fan in chapter 11 during and after WWII. like God! we went crazy with our houses 🏘️

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Interesting, but a bit dry and long winded.

I thought the topics and statistics covered in the book were interesting. it really details how the US ended up as such a suburban nation. however the story didn't always keep my attention. the author goes on a bit longer than needed to make a point sometimes. worth listening once, but probably won't be listening a second time.

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Essential and Masterful

Jackson demonstrates how the development of the uniquely suburban-centric form of the American landscape was equal parts intention and technological innovation, founded upon the natural bounties of our nation and the tensions inherent to its melting pot of different ethnicities and races. Anyone who wonders why our metropolitan areas look the way they do must read at least the portion of this work that addresses the 1930s up to the present (which is the mid-1980s in this instance, but differing little from 2020, for better or worse). An essential read and a masterful synthesis.

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Most interesting interpretation of potentially boring subject

This was really well done and absolutely kept my interest. It is an older book, so I think it sets some foundation but you should definitely augment with some more current research, but this is a great foundation.

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A classic

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Although it was written decades ago, many of the issues discussed are still relevant today. This book gives a wonderful comprehensive history about why suburbs are so popular and why we can't stop building them.

Any additional comments?

A classic and a must read for those interested in urbanism. I feel a lot of books I've read where just updates to this book, I'm glad I finally got to it.